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Donnerstag, 28. Februar 2013
The February baby is here
Tiberius Richard Ephraim
By now he's already three weeks old. We are very happy to finally have him here in our little family of four. Delivery went quickly and without complications so we were home soon after and could start getting to know this little fellow. His big sister is quite proud of him even though he's still a bit boring for her. We'll see what she has to say about this 12 months down the road when he's messing up her things ;-)
And of course he's already wearing hand knits :-)
Baby leg warmers
Pattern is improvised. Two simple tubes of two by two ribbing in pretty Wollmeise yarn.
Cutie baby pants
This one is based on a Drops/Garnstudio pattern with modifications to accommodate a slightly different gauge: Cozy and Cute
The colorful blanket I knitted back in 2007 for our daughter and it accompanied us through her first years being a constant companion - in the car seat, the stroller, the bed, the doll bed and so on. It held up great and now gets used again for the little one.
Freitag, 26. Oktober 2012
Baby stuff, knitted and quilted
I cannot believe that we're going on Halloween already. The halfway mark of my pregnancy came and went and now I'm already nearing the magical remaining 100 days. And the baby bundle is well and already kicking up a storm in my ever growing belly. Naturally baby knitting has been done - romper, pants, leg warmers are only the very first on my list. A cardigan is supposed to be next. And I managed to work up another quilt for a baby blanket.
Baby's quilted play blanket
I really like how this little quilt turned out. Bright, sunny cotton fabric against cold and drab winter days. I think the backside with it's cute butterfly fabric is to die for.
Baby quilt - backside
The little quilt might just be the right size to cover the changing table or to take with in the pram or in a bag. My first attempt at quilting triangles and putting them together in the windmill pattern. It was fun and easy.
Windmill quilt pattern - one block
Samstag, 2. Juni 2012
Trigonometry - blanket for a friend's baby boy
Finished this fun little blanket while on a visit to family last weekend. A four hours drive always provides ample of knitting time. The blanket is very graphic and constructed out of garter stitch triangles running in different directions. It's done with short-rows and modular knitting. It's been so much fun and a quick knit.Ate up some left-over yarns to boot. There's four different yarns in there but since they are all round about the same yardage they work well together. Thinking of doing a couple of color studies and some variations to make up a pattern for this one. I can see so many possibilities here, my mind is spinning.
Sonntag, 11. März 2012
This weekend a friend asked about my well-being since I hadn't shared any new knitting around here for a while. Ouch. Apart from the regular everyday stuff like work, family, the house, friends and whatnot there has been knitting going on, of course.
Small Inspira Cowl
One of the most interesting and fun projects over the last months was the Inspiria Cowl. There were so many fabulous Inspira projectst in Ravelry's database! Beautiful colors. Many variations regarding size and shape. And all that based on the most basic colorwork. With pretty self-striping yarns that sported long color repeats.
Inspira as a kids poncho
The first Inspira was intended to end up as a small cowl or neck warmer for me. The pattern was a bit difficult to figure out and adjust at first. That's probably because the instructions are more of an entertaining guideline than a clearcut pattern. It took some frustrated ranting but in the end was possible to put two and two together. The photos and project descriptions on Ravelry helped, too. The pattern in combination with the lovely Drops yarn made for a lovely end result. Unfortunately I couldn't enjoy it for long. The girl laid claim to the cowl declared it a "kids poncho" and off she went :-)
Well, there was nothing to do but sit down and knit another Inspira to have one for myself. This time larger and with random variations on the stripes. It turned out just as lovely as the first one. And the simple stranding over only two stitches worked up nearly as quickly as plain ribbing. Who would have thought it?
Inspira shoulder wrap
This is definitely one of those knits that look much more complex than they actually are. In this one a traditional knitting technique paired with a modern yarn combine to the best effect.
Drops Delight self-striping yarn
Along the lines of those two projects I also discovered a new yarn that I hadn't worked with before. Drops Delight is one of those new yarns that are clearly inspired - I hesitate to call them poor copies - by Noro's trademark color gradations. For all intents and purposes Drops Delight appears as a soft singles yarn while a closer look shows that there might be more to it. The 75% wool, 25% nylon content suggests that it would also be suitable as a sock yarn. If knit on a somewhat tighter gauge it might actually hold up against harder wear. I haven't tried that myself though. In those projects I worked the yarn on 4mm neeedles producing a slightly looser gauge while still resulting in a nice, coherent fabric with a bit of drape. And while the yarn imitates Noro yarns to a certain degree it's an entirely different thing to knit with. Much softer, not as much knots or slubs and not half as much vegetable matter. Cheaper, too. On the other hand it's absolutely clear that nobody can imitate Noro's vibrant, unique color schemes. The same item worked in Noro yarn will always stand out in a crowd. So it's not a real competition at all.
Montag, 2. Januar 2012
Knitting projects 2011
And here we are. Another year in front of us. Full of new possibilites and challenges. Time to see what's been going on knitting wise here at Sooza's. The clever Ravelry database tells me I've got 35 projects logged in for 2011. Not bad. Lots of this has actually been crochet which was a surprise for me. The year 2011 was all about re-learning and improving my skills with a crochet hook. And it's been fun.
Another skill I wanted to try my hands on was weaving. No progress on this front though. But I've got the loom now and it will be one of the projects I'll take with me into 2012.
What else has been going on? I discovered the concept of everyday carry and fell down the rabbit hole of collecting pocket knives. To keep this blog mostly about my crafts and some personal side notes I've been setting up a Tumblr blog for my EDC hobby - Sooza's EDC and Stuff. I'm thinking about putting out some knife reviews in the upcoming weeks. Will have to see wether I find the time.
Happy New year everyone and the best of luck for all your new endeavors and discoveries.
Mittwoch, 14. Dezember 2011
Here's a knitted FO from back in October that went to a friend as a gift. Ishbel by Isolda Teague is one of rare patterns I've knitted more than once. And since the results are always so nice I'll probably do it again. I'm thinking Wollmeise this time. Project details on Ravelry.
Montag, 7. November 2011
Fixed a hole in my favorite cardigan
While washing some of my woolen garments for winter I was shocked to find my beloved Wollmeise cardigan with two holes and a thin spot on the collar. How can this be? I frantically searched my wardrobe for other signs of moth infestation but couldn't find any. Which is good, of course. But what happened to the Wollmeise cardi? I really don't know. Gourmet moths maybe only out for the finest Merino?! It seemed fine the last time I wore it but after washing it suddenly turned up holey :-( May didn't like the washing machine. Now what to do?
I knew I didn't have any of the original yarn left because I gave the left-over skein to my sister. But I knew there was a swatch somewhere in my binders with project notes. While I'm not the most religious swatch knitter ever I do so most of the time to calculate my gauge and do the sizing. As predicted I found the swatch tacked to my notes and it was quickly unraveled. I sat down and carefully retraced the stitches over a few rows - not so easy in moss stitch - to close up the two holes as invisibly as possible. And it worked quite alright. It's not totally invisible but also not right in your face either. I undid maybe a third of the bind off row on the collar and replaced this one too to take care of the thin spot there. Steam ironed it a bit and now it's as good as now. Let's hope this doesn't happen to more of my hand-knits.
Sonntag, 6. November 2011
Miata (Mazda MX5) on autocross track
Yesterday the best husband of all took part in the last autocross events on this year's schedule. The weather even though mighty cold in the morning warmed up nicely during the day and made the last day of the season a huge success. The number of participants was astonishing and it seemed like everyone wanted to take their car to the track one last time before winter lowers its white blanket.
Birkenallee in Groß Dölln - birch lined country road
I enjoyed the trip through the flat Brandenburg countryside prettied up by the low autumn sun and those awesome tree lined country roads. This one here is on the terrain of former Soviet air base in Groß Dölln. The clearing on the right side would have been the parade-ground. Weird how quiet and peaceful this place is today. Privately owned "Driving Center Groß Dölln" has become a mecca for motorsports enthusiasts across the country. And imagine, it's still an active air strip. So from time to time you'll have small air planes making their way down onto the tarmac where the guys do their dance around the cones. But with two air strips of 4000 meters there's plenty of room for everyone.
Basic handknit socks for Nike. Very pink, of course.
With the switch from DST to regular time the evenings start mighty early all of a sudden. Four o'clock in the evening has had us seeing the most beautiful sunsets this past week. For most knitters this turn of the clock signals the upcoming high season for our hobby. There's mittens and socks needed to keep small hands and feet warm. Wool garments pulled out of the closet to ward off the chill. Christmas presents to be planned and materials to be acquired. And the of course there's much knitting to be done. Let the fun begin :-)
Donnerstag, 29. September 2011
Mirabell Garden (Salzburg, Austria)
"Wake Me Up When September Ends"
Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
wake me up when September ends
I've probably quoted this before but somehow this time of the year always brings this particular Green Day song to mind. After a summer that mostly seems to have left a cold and wet impression we seem to be hitting a mild early autumn period for a change where you can still enjoy the parks, gardens and terraces.
On the one hand I'm kind of sad to see summer go. But as a knitter and crafts person I can't help looking forward to shorter days and cozy evenings at home. My mind is awhirl with new ideas for knitting projects and other crafts stuff. A trip business trip to Salzburg over the last weekend triggered some interest in traditional alpine/Tyrollean dress. I bought an interesting book about the history of the dirndl and traditional dress and I bought some accompanying sewing and knitting books. Those dirndls are so very pretty and really versatile. I'm a bit sad to live in a region where wearing a dirndl is pretty much out of the question.
Enjoying the last warm days
In the picture above is also one my latest obsessions - a Spyderco pocket knife. Somehow I've been sucked into the world of pocket knives and found them to be incredibly useful to have at hand. Opening parcels and letters, cutting card bord, peeling an apple, cutting a roll and putting on butter while outdoors, small stuff in the garden and around the house. I'm particularly fond of Spyderco. Spyderco's trademark is the so-called 'spyderhole' in the blade serving as a means to open the knife one-handed. I really like their style and the superb quality. In the picture there's the still fairly new 'Squeak'. It's a small non-locking blade mostly geared towards markets where pocket knives are under very heavy restrictions regarding size and locking capabilities. It's manufactured not in Asia or the United States but in Maniago, Italy's number one place for steel blade making. Unfortunately most of Spyderco's knives fall under §42a of the German weapon's law. Which means they are locking blades and feature one-hand opening. Those are not allowed to carry in public on your person. But Spyderco is one of the few companies aware of the fact that more and more countries put quite severe restrictions on knives and tries to find ways innovative solutions while staying true to their trademark look and feel.
Spyderco Delica 4 FFG in pink
This is probably my favorite Spyderco model - a Delica 4 FFG. I've got one in purple and one pink just for kicks. The size is just right even for bigger tasks while still being light-weight and compact. There's more pictures to proof my hopeless decline into just another obsession on Flickr ;o)
Donnerstag, 16. Juni 2011
Over the past years indie dyer "Wollmeise" has gained an incredible popularity allover the world. When I first ordered a few skeins of 100% Merino yarn with Claudia it was a small affair with the distinctive, cute flash based Wollmeise website. The page showed yarns in maybe 20 interestingly named, bright colorways that you could order via email. Some knitting enthusiasts spread the word and in short time Wollmeise was a well known protagonist in the young and hip knitting world across Germany.
My first Wollmeise yarn back in 2007
I ordered a few skeins back in 2007 and thought they werequite nice. Great colors, maybe a bit difficult to knit with. Apart from that, the 100% Merino so called sock yarn was useless to me. I had walked holes into a pair of Wollmeise in under 3 months. The second Wollmeise skein stayed the only ones in my stash for a number of years.
Socks in Wollmeise Twin
While I was pretty much ignoring the Wollmeise hype the yarn became higher and higher in demand. The small scale Wollmeise business couldn't keep up with demand. And to makes things even worse with the advent of Ravelry - a social community for knitters worldwide - the Wollmeise yarn became an international hit. Somewhere along the way the Wollmeise online shop went online but the high demand couldn't be met with a steady stock. The weekly updates were introduced where the shop would be stocked once a week and thousands of people were trying to snatch up a precious skein of Wollmeise. It's been a crazy race and the shop couldn't handle all the orders. I rediscovered the magic of Wollmeise yarn when using my second skein for a Beret and matching scarf. When I tried to get my hands on some more Wollmeise I found that things had changed considerably. Ordering became a frustrating experience and people had started to vent their frustration openly. I think it all cumulated in some online auctions where Wollmeise yarn went for immense sums of money. I decided to just give it a rest and not bother with the stress. Up until this day Wollmeise yarn and the whole cult around it divides opinions. People are usually not on the fence about it but are shouting loudly at each other from opposite sides of the fence.
Wollmeise 100% Versuchskaninchen
The thing is, you can try to resist all you want, Wollmeise is going to seduce you with its lucious colors ;-) There's just something about the yarn that makes even - or especially - the most basic patterns stand out. And the ladies in my knit circle brought so many pretty skeins of yarn and projects to our meetings. They finally had me when Claudia introduced her semi-solid range. So I jumped the wagon again and tried the shop updates again. Some Fridays have been disappointing in terms of yarn or color choices in the updates. But somehow things seemed to have calmed down a bit.
Wollmeise Twin grab bag
Nowadays it's not impossible to at least rescue a few skeins from your basket to the cashier. And then there's always the wild idea of the "We're different" grab bags. The bags contain colorways that didn't quite turn out as intended and you can only choose a yarn type, the color range or opt for a complete surprise. Last Friday I chose to order a small grab bag "Kunterbunt" which means there can be anything. I got a lovely multicolor skein of "We're Different Franz" and one not so hot skein of "We're Different Brombeere". But it might work out nicely as a pair of socks. That's the deal with the grab bags. You never know what you get. And sometimes I'm totally in the mood for a little surprise :-)
Lintilla shawl in "Suzanne"
And what happens with all those pretty skeins? Well, knitting with Wollmeise is certainly different. The yarn is somehow different from other wool yarns. Very smooth. Not very elastic. Almost like cotton. Knitting with it can be a chore sometimes but the end result is ALWAYS worth the bother.
Knitted lace curtain
If you haven't had a chance to try Wollmeise yarn I would totally suggest you check the shop for the Friday afternoon grab bag update. Things are bit more relaxed there because not everyone is in the mood for a surprise. So snag yourself a Wollmeise grab bag and check out the 20'000 and then some Wollmeise projects on Ravelry for some serious inspiration. And if you're not interested that's just fine, too. One word of warning though, it's getting and addictive habit very quickly :-)
Mittwoch, 1. Juni 2011
Elizabeth Zimmermann (EZ for short), knitter and knitting teacher extraordinaire claims garter stitch to be one of the most versatile, useful and fun stitches in knitting. Most other people think it's the most basic and therefore boring thing ever. I've got to admit I've always been a bit of a garter stitch snob. It does have it's uses but it never struck me as particularly inspiring.
But then you go and check out Jared Flood's aka Brooklyntweed's blog with its beautiful photography, pretty projects and his love for all things EZ. And suddendly you feel the magic. I mean just look at his Tweed Baby Blanket or the beautiful Bridgewater Shawl. Most of their charm is derived from a very basic garter stitch square that's topped with a bit of fancy lace. Further search on Flickr and Ravelry quickly uncovers EZ's Stonington Shawl as one of those very easy pretty much all garter stitch patterns that seem to produce stunning results. And the construction on this one seemed really intriguing. Well, what else is a girl to do but jump over her shadow, pick up some delightful Shetland lace yarn and dive in head first into hours and hours of garter stitch?!
Finished Stonington Shawl
I cast on for this shawl back in 2010 before going on a weekend trip with the company that involved airports and bus transfers. The diamond shaped center worked up quickly enough but after that things slowed down considerably. And let's be honest here. Miles and miles of garter stitch IS a fairly mindless endeavour.
Stonington Shawl - lace edging
In the end it took 8 months to complete and I had to reorder two times with Jamieson and Smith in Lerwick, Shetland to finally be able to finish this shawl. After the plain garter stitch got done I decided to go for a slightly deeper and a more elaborate edging than the original pattern asked for to spice things up a bit. The double diamond row works nicely with the simple garter stitch body if I dare say so myself.
Double diamond lace edging
The whole shawl only took 8.5 skeins of Jamieson and Smith 2ply Lace yarn. That's a mere 212 grams of yarn. On 4 mm needles the fabric is open and airy but not too flimsy. As always I really enjoyed working with Shetland yarn. There is nothing artificial to it. Just a natural beauty that makes even the most simple patterns stand out.
Stonington Shawl in Shetland 2ply lace yarn
Has this been a lot of work and long time in the making? Sure. Was it fun to knit? Totally. The construction with the diamond center and seperately worked border sections and knitted on edging make for a literally seemless construction. That's fun all in itself. Would I work another one of these? I'm pretty sure I would. The combination of simple yet beautiful and classy is timeless and alluring.
Pattern: Stonington Shawl by Elizabeth Zimmermann from Shawls and Scarves: The Best of Knitter's Magazine
Yarn: Shetland 2ply Lace by Jamieson and Smith, Color L63 heathered jeans blue, 212 grams (1440 meter)
Needle: 4 mm
Finished size: 135 x 135 cm
Mittwoch, 23. Februar 2011
Fiber: 25 grams, 40% Bison / 40% Alpaca / 10% Merino / 10% Silk - Frosted Tea from Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts
Spinning: spun on Russian spindles by Ed Tabachek and GrippingYarn
Plying: plied on a Tabachek plying spindle by way of a 2-stranded plying ball
Yarn: 170 meters/25 grams
Pattern: Free pattern Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief
Shawl: 110 meters wide, 45 cm deep
Samstag, 29. Januar 2011
Hearts in Estonia Shawl - A triangular lace shawl
People have been asking for this pattern ever since I've knitted the first version. Fitting the motifs into a bottom up shawl does require quite a bit of math, calculating and tinkering so it's taken me a while to work out the charts and the stitch counts. Motivated by the success of the scarf pattern I sat down and finally got it done.
The instructions and chart for the triangular shawl are now part of the already published Hearts in Estonia pattern. The pattern has an additional 3 pages now. I've updated the pattern information on Ravelry and raised the copy price a bit to reflect the additional amount of work that's gone into creating this combined pattern. Everyone who's already purchased the scarf pattern has been notified and automatically gets the expanded pattern for free.
Nupps, nupps and more nupps
Yarn: 600 meters of laceweight yarn. Prototypes were worked in Filcolana New Zealand Lammeuld (600 meters/100 grams) and Zitron filigran Lace No.1 (600 meters/100 grams). Even though they’ve got the same yardage they are as different as day and night. Filcolana is a lofty, wooly, Shetland type of yarn that works up into an open but still very substancial fabric even on 4 mm needles. Zitron Filigran is a dense, smooth and very inelastic singles yarn that creates a much more open and ethereal fabric even on the smaller 3.75 mm needles. Personally I really didn’t care much for working with this yarn but after blocking it turned out nice and it seems to hold the shape well. In the finer Zitron yarn I was able to work 7-sts nupps and still ended up with a few grams of leftovers. While with the Filcolana I stuck to 5-sts nupps and made the cast-off with just a couple of meters to spare.
Needles: 3.75 to 4 mm or size to achieve desired gauge
Size: 160 to 170 cm wide, about 70 cm deep
Montag, 25. Oktober 2010
Colorful leaves. Air is clear and nippy.
I've been content to snap pictures with our very reliable little point 'n shoot Fuji Finepix camera for a few years now. It made more than adequate pictures most of the time and in most standard situations. But I've been longing for the digital SLR experience for quite some time now. I loved taking pictures with our Canon EOS 500. Choosing lenses according to the situation. Trying out different options to get the best picture possible. The only drawback: it was analog. And after getting used to the immediacy of digital photography the lag between taking a pic and seeing how it had turned out wasn't acceptable any longer. So the EOS 500 started to gather dust in a corner along with some fairly decent lenses. It was a shame, really. Two weeks ago I did some research and decided I would go and try buying an old digital Canon EOS semi-professional model and see how I liked that. An old EOS 20D goes for quite reasonable prices these days. Sure, it's not state of the art but what the heck. Our lenses were compatible and I was pretty sure it would be a sturdy piece of technology.
Canon EOS 20D
Over the course of only one short week I've taken more than 300 pictures already. I've been reading the manual, trying out settings, making adjustments and having general fun with this stone-age digital SLR. It's not entirely without fault. But going by discussion boards on the net things like occasional error messages and acting up CF cards seem to be troubling owners of new and old Canon models alike. So I'll enjoy it as long as it lasts. And it is indeed tremendous fun to get back on topic with photography, the theory behind it, the technology.
Manual White Balance captures these Wollmeise colors almost exactly right.
Parc fermé at an Autocross event at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben
It's so easy to get interesting portraits and to play with focus and depth of field.
It's puddle season.
And puddle jumping is fun for 3-year olds.
Gorgeous autumn weather.
Donnerstag, 14. Oktober 2010
Marvelous Spiral - A logarithmic spiral, equiangular spiral or growth spiral is a special kind of spiral curve which often appears in nature. The logarithmic spiral was first described by Descartes and later extensively investigated by Jacob Bernoulli, who called it Spira mirabilis, "the marvelous spiral".
Spiral Shawl blocking on the attic floor
This shawl pattern had caught my eye the first time I browsed through Meg Swansen's magnificent book "A Gathering of Lace" back in 2001 when the book first appeared. It's simple but at the same time stunning and beautiful. It's knitted in Icelandic lace-weight yarn which is a very special thing. Back in May in finally managed to procure the yarn and cast on.
Icelandic Lace-Weight Yarn
This yarn is a stark contrast to everything we're used to today. It's not soft. It's plain, rustic wool and no fancy blend neither. It's a rustic singles yarn that feels pretty harsh when you're knitting with it. But when you wash it it develops this beautiful halo and the harsh yarn turns into a drapey fabric that holds its shape wonderfully. It's still not soft by a long shot. But it fluffy and warm and all wool.
Compact travel knitting
This project has been my companion throughout spring and summer. The pattern is easily memorized and the round construction makes for very compact travel-friendly knitting. The rounds got really long in the end there and it took some real effort to finish it before August turned into September.
As always blocking worked its usual magic and turned a somewhat rumply and ugly duckling into a beautiful swan, or shawl as the case may be.
Super-Spiral Shawl posing on garden chair
Pattern: Super-Spiral Shawl by Meg Swansen (Ravelry link), A Gathering of Lace
Yarn: Ístex Loðband Einband / Icelandic Laceweight (50 g/225 m, 4.5 skeins), color: 9044 lavender
Needles: 4.5 mm
Size: 150 cm in diameter
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